Advocacy and advice

Man with a walking stick and a big smile

We provide help and advice to Disabled People on a wide range of issues, such as housing and debt issues. If you are having problems, we can also provide advocacy support to help you get your point of view across in a meeting, letter or phone call.

Our support covers things like discrimination, help with making complaints, and conflict resolution.  In fact, we can provide advocacy support to Disabled People on any of Disabled People’s Basic Rights. 12 Basic Rights 2013.pdf

What we can offer

Disabled woman writing at a desk

This free service is available to residents in the Southampton area. If you live outside of Southampton we can usually put you in touch with another organisation that can help.

In addition to our advocacy and advice service, we also offer a mentoring service. This is designed to assist individual Disabled People to achieve a specific goal. For example, you might wish to take up volunteering, look for a job, learn a new skill, or take part in a new activity you have never tried. The role of the mentor is to assist the individual through empowerment, encouragement and mentoring.

What type of advocacy do you provide?

We provide an issue based service that aims to help you sort out a particular problem by direct or none direct support, So if you need help and support to put a complaint letter together, we can assist you to do this. On the other hand you may already be in a dispute with a service provider and need someone to negotiate on your behalf, we may be able to assist you and attend any meetings, depending on their locality.

What ‘Reasonable Adjustments’ do organisations providing goods and services have to make for Disabled People?

If an organisation provides any goods or services they are required by the Equality Act 2010 to make sure that Disabled People are able to use their services, as far as is reasonable, to the same standard as non-disabled people, by making reasonable adjustments.

They cannot wait until a disabled person wants to use their services, but must think in advance about what different Disabled People might reasonably need, such as People with Learning Difficulties, or people who have visual, hearing or mobility impairments.

Reasonable adjustments include things like:

  • Installing a textphone so that people with hearing impairments can communicate with the organisation, or offering the alternative of instant messaging via the internet which also removes barriers to accessing the service for people who cannot, for a variety of reasons such as visual impairment or dyslexia, make notes during a phone call.

  • Making sure that all written information is made available in alternative accessible formats like Easy Read – written in simple language, with pictures to illustrate what the text says – which will be more accessible to People with Learning Difficulties.

  • Installing a ramp to the organisations premises to make them accessible to wheelchair users.

How do I know if I have been discriminated against?

Unlawful discrimination, in other words, treating some people worse than others because of a protected characteristic under equality law can take a number of different forms:

Direct discrimination is where someone is treated worse than other people – for example a charity refusing to accept someone as a service user because of their ethnic origin or disability.

Indirect discrimination is where a service or organisation does something to someone which has (or would have) a worse impact on them and other people who share a particular protected characteristic than on people who do not share that characteristic. Doing something’ can include making a decision, or applying a rule or way of doing things. This could include, for example, a service failing to provide alternative ways of communicating with them for people who cannot use the telephone.

But, in some situations treating people differently does not automatically mean that they have been discriminated against if the organisation can show that what they have done is objectively justified. For example, a service that is set up specifically to support Older People or people from a particular Faith community can justify not offering that service to other people as that is not what they are set up to do. Similarly, it would be justified for a service offering refuge for women experiencing domestic violence to exclude men from their service. If they were a general service, on the other hand, then excluding particular people because of their age, ethnic origin, disability, gender etc would be discrimination.

Who is covered by equality law?

The Equality Act 2010 applies to discrimination on the grounds of any of the ‘protected characteristics’. These are:

• age

• disability

• gender reassignment

• pregnancy and maternity (which includes breastfeeding)

• race

• religion or belief

• sex

• sexual orientation.

What our service users say about us:

Thank you so much for your help and support with the DLA application for our son. *** was very helpful when I met her and we are very grateful (Advice Service user).

The service and advice was first class and once again my deafness was taken into account and made to feel relaxed as long appointments (Advice Service user).


Find out how we can help you
If you think we can help you in some way, why not get in touch.


Jeff Downing or Jenny Semmens

or contact them by mobile: 07710 542 555